Recently in Washington
Last week the House of Representatives passed the rules package for the 112th Congress, which will govern committee and floor procedures in the House of Representatives. The rules package included a number of significant changes to bring transparency and fiscal responsibility to the way Congress does its business.
The House also passed H.Res. 22, which reduced the operating budgets of the House of Representatives by 5 percent below FY2010 levels.
A Note from Congressman Simpson Regarding the Attack on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords
I am deeply saddened to learn of the tragic attack on Congresswoman Giffords, her staff, and the citizens attending her Town Hall. Gabrielle is a dedicated public servant to the people of her district and Arizona. Kathy and my thoughts and prayers are with the family of all who were harmed in this violent attack.
Congressman Mike Simpson Lands Chairman of Interior Appropriations
Simpson named Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior and the Environment, will also serve on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education and Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water
Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson is now the Chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior and the Environment. The subcommittee, of which Simpson has been Ranking Republican for the past two years, oversees funding for the Department of the Interior, the U.S. Forest Service, and the Environmental Protection Agency, as well as smaller related agencies.
“This is an extremely important subcommittee for Idaho,” said Simpson. “The federal government owns nearly two-thirds of the land in our state, so Idahoans interact with agencies like the Forest Service and the BLM on a daily basis. Land management agencies need to be good neighbors, and I will work to ensure that they are able to act effectively and efficiently on the public’s behalf.”
As Chairman, Congressman Simpson will be tasked with reducing spending levels that have grown out of control in recent years under Democrat control. In particular, he has his eyes set on the EPA, which has seen exponential growth in its budget since President Obama came into office. “The EPA is the scariest agency in the federal government, an agency run amok,” Simpson said. “Its bloated budget has allowed it to drastically expand its regulatory authority in a way that is hurting our economy and pushing an unwelcomed government further into the lives of Idahoans. As Chairman of this subcommittee, I look forward to bringing some common sense to the EPA and some certainty for our nation’s job creators.”
Simpson will once again serve on the Committee’s Energy and Water Development Subcommittee during the 112th Congress. The Energy and Water Development Subcommittee has jurisdiction over all activities of the Department of Energy, including the National Nuclear Security Administration, and the Office of Nuclear Energy. Its jurisdiction also includes the Bureau of Reclamation, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Bonneville Power Administration and numerous other independent agencies. The Subcommittee’s jurisdiction includes the overwhelming majority of work being conducted at the Idaho National Laboratory including nuclear research and environmental remediation.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed serving on the Energy and Water Subcommittee over the past eight years and am pleased to be able to continue my work on a Subcommittee so important to Idaho and the Pacific Northwest,” said Simpson. “Our nation is on the precipice of a nuclear renaissance and I hope to use my position on the Subcommittee to accelerate that renaissance and move us closer to energy independence. In the process, I hope to not only protect the interests of the Idaho National Laboratory, but to expand its capabilities and foster its growth in the coming years.”
Simpson will also serve on the Committee’s Labor, Health and Human Services and Education and Related Agencies that has jurisdiction over the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, all extremely important agencies to Idaho. The Subcommittee will be at the forefront of efforts to reduce the federal budget and streamline federal programs. It will also play a lead role in Republican efforts to block the implementation of the Democrat’s health care reform bill. “I look forward to playing a key role on this subcommittee in advancing the principles of limited and efficient government and in blocking attempts to expand the federal government’s reach in inappropriate ways,” said Simpson.
Promises Made, Promises Kept
by Congressmen Simpson and Labrador
During our campaigns for Congress last year, we joined with our Republican colleagues across the country in calling for not only a rigid commitment to fiscal discipline, but a strong focus on reforming the way Congress conducts its business.
This message resonated with the American people, and their desire for reforms was made abundantly clear by the sheer volume of turnover forced on Congress by voters across the country.
We are happy to report that the new Republican Congress, in consultation with our Democrat colleagues and the American people, has delivered on its promise of reform during the very first day of the 112th Congress. Through the adoption of an entirely new package of rules governing the way Congress operates, we are leading the way toward a new era of openness, fairness, fiscal discipline and respect for the Constitution in the People’s House.
The new official rules for Congress for which we were proud to vote include a number of reforms we strongly support, such as the following:
• From this point forward, all bills will be posted online in a searchable format at least three days prior to a vote. Bills can no longer be prepared in the dark of night and brought up for a vote the next morning.
• All bills will now require a citation of constitutional authority upon their introduction.
• To stop out-of-control spending and long-term spending gimmickry, any legislation that is projected to increase deficit spending by $5 billion or more will be subject to additional legislative roadblocks.
• We have instituted a new “Cut-Go” provision that requires any legislation that includes a mandatory spending increase to include an equal spending decrease.
• We are curbing the practice of passing “omnibus” pieces of legislation that couple together unrelated provisions to shield them from public review.
• We are making the committee process more open and accessible by webcasting hearings and markups and including votes and rules on committee websites.
These reforms are a good start toward ending some of the outdated practices so detested by the American people and, in their place, enacting reforms that have the support of the overwhelming majority of Americans, Democrat and Republican alike.
It is important to note, however, that these are not the only reforms we have in mind.
Republicans have started the process of getting our fiscal house in order by adopting a five percent across-the-board reduction in the operations budget of Congress. We are calling for a return to fiscal year 2008 spending levels as another first step toward fiscal discipline and intend to make significant reforms of mandatory, off-budget spending as well.
Through more open, fair, and modern Congressional processes, the new Republican majority is working to make Congress more responsible to the people it represents and begin the process of living within its means. We hope these reforms are just the beginning in restoring fiscal discipline to Congress and providing the American people with substantive input on how their government operates and legislates.
Simpson Cosponsors Health Care Repeal
Congressman Mike Simpson cosponsored the Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act. This bill would fully repeal the job-killing health care law and health care-related provisions in the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 that were signed into law last year. The U.S. House of Representatives plans to vote on this bill as early as next week.
“The Democrats’ healthcare bill is wrong for our country,” said Simpson. “I strongly believe the best thing we could do is to repeal the bill in its entirety and start the process over by passing smaller bills that enjoy bipartisan support and focus on bringing down costs for American healthcare consumers.”
Simpson also stressed that while they continue to push a full-scale repeal, Republicans in Congress and in the states should work to repeal and amend the law in any way possible to limit its negative impact. “The simple truth is that the prospects for full-scale repeal are slim as long as President Obama is in office and can veto any legislation we might be able to pass through Congress,” said Simpson. “So while we wait for the presidential election of 2012, we should move forward with other measures that hold more near-term promise of blunting the impact of this bill. Those efforts include supporting Idaho’s constitutional challenge to the Democrats’ bill, amending the bill to alter its most onerous provisions, and seeking limitations on funding of its implementation. Limiting the reach and impact of this bill must be a multi-pronged approach.”
Simpson is also a cosponsor of three other bills introduced in the House this week to repeal individual sections of the bill. He is a cosponsor of a bill introduced by Congressman Scott Garrett, the Reclaiming Individual Liberty Act, which would repeal the unconstitutional individual mandate. He also is a cosponsor of legislation introduced by Congressman Ted Poe. The Defund the Individual Mandate Act would prohibit funds from being appropriated or otherwise made available to any federal department or agency to be used to implement or enforce any federal mandate to purchase health insurance. In addition, he is a cosponsor of the Small Business Paperwork Relief Act. Introduced by Congressman Dan Lungren, this bill would repeal the onerous and burdensome small business tax reporting provision that requires business owners to submit a separate 1099 reporting form for every single business-to-business transaction that totals more than $600 in a given year.
Simpson Presides over U.S. House for Reading of the Constitution
Congressman Mike Simpson presided over the U.S. House of Representatives when they convened on Thursday, January 6. The first order of business was reading the U.S. Constitution and was shown live on CSPAN.
“It is extremely humbling to preside over the U.S. House of Representatives and I often think about the members throughout our nation’s history who previously held the gavel and the difficult decisions they faced,” said Simpson. “History captivates me, and it is an honor to have the privilege of presiding over the reading of the U.S. Constitution, the first step in keeping our pledge to the American people to change the way Congress works.”
Congressman Simpson, who was one of the last members presiding in the 109th Congress when Republicans last had control of the U.S. House of Representatives, was one of the first members to preside over the 112th Congress.
House Legislative Business This Week
The Majority Leader has announced that legislation originally scheduled for this week will be postponed in light of the attack on Congresswoman Giffords.
Monday, January 10th
On Monday, the House is not in session.
Tuesday, January 11th
On Tuesday, the House will meet at 2:00 p.m. in pro forma session. No votes are expected.
Wednesday, January 12th
On Wednesday, the House will meet at 10:00 a.m. for legislative business. No votes are expected.
H.Res. __ - Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives with respect to the tragic shooting in Tucson, Arizona (Subject to a Unanimous Consent Agreement)
Thursday, January 13th
On Thursday, the House is not in session.
Friday, January 14th
On Friday, the House is not in session.